Entwined is a complete bag of surprises. From its surprise appearance at Sony's E3 2014 conference to its sudden release on the very same day. However, the biggest surprise is that not only is Entwined an absolutely beautiful visual spectacle but it is a subtle action game that provides a highly rewarding and fun experience.
Entwined tells the story of two souls in love who in the game take on the forms of a origami constructed blue bird and orange fish racing through nine lifetimes to be together. Entwined puts a new spin on video game story telling, as there is no dialogue, no cutscenes and no texts to explain the narrative. Instead, the story is told through metaphoric meaning and powerful symbolism and with this in hand, the story is left to the imagination and interpretation of the player. This clever way of storytelling, makes the player feel more involved in Entwined's narrative as by using its symbolism and metaphoric gestures, the game invokes the player to become the storyteller, making us use our own feelings, thoughts and imagination to craft the game's tale.
By leaving us a story for us to interpret and tell, the game's narrative is given flexibility as every player might see the story differently. One player may see it as a story of heartbreak and another as something else entirely.
Each of the games nine levels (lifetimes), consist of two phases. One where the two souls are apart and another where they come together. The gameplay is relatively simple with players controlling both characters with only the use of both Dualshock 4's analogue sticks. These two souls race throughout the game's nine tracks collecting orbs and passing through gates of their respective colour that fills up their two separate meter gauges. Successfully moving through the game's obstacle fills up the gauge while failure drifts them apart.
This simplistic control scheme makes gameplay highly accessible with very little to learn and it makes the movement of the player's thumbs feel unified which feels highly reminiscent of the two souls on screen, making gameplay highly engaging and in a way personal.
After each of the two soul's meters are fully filled, players are able to access the soul merging process and the game instantly changes the pace making the track move faster and therefore more difficult. In this merging process, players and treated to a frantic and challenging experience where our focus suddenly becomes sharpened as the game's difficulty suddenly spikes into something completely different from what players had adjusted themselves to only moments earlier.
The game's nine lifetime tracks are challenging as the obstacles routinely shift and move, keeping players focused and constantly preparing to navigate for whatever comes next as they race down the circular track. Every lifetime adds its own unique variety of obstacles making each level feel distinct with its own identity of difficulty.
The game occasionally drops in frame rate even to the point of seemingly freezing completely but they are very short in their duration.
Easily, the game's most beautiful segment is the second phase where the two souls have merged and become a great, green dragon. In this phase, players are able to fly freely and navigate a stunningly beautiful open area which the player can fly around at their own pace and leisure, taking in the wonderful sights. By collecting orbs within this area, the player fills up a meter which is depleted by crafting gorgeous streaks of light as if the dragon suddenly became a paint brush. Upon depleting this meter, players are able to move on to the next lifetime but not before being treated to the mesmerizing view of the artwork we just added further beauty to with our light streaks, giving players a strong sense of reward upon the completion of a lifetime.
The game's art design can only be described in a few words, downright gorgeous. Each lifetime has its own visually stunning set pieces from the icy lakes of the Artic to the night scenery of a carnival. Every lifetime is accompanied and laid out with wonderful colours, lighting and particle effects. The game feels like a well polished work of art throughout its entire length with great attention to detail which showcases the game's wonder beauty.
The game's soundtrack is spectacular with multiple serene and mood-setting scores that is a absolute treat for the ears, sending players on a relaxing and tranquil sensory journey.
In addition to the game's breathtaking although short campaign, Entwined has an addictive challenge mode. Players are given three lives to progress as far as they can across five stages during an endless tunnel sequence with each new stage being unlocked upon the achievement of a certain score benchmark.
Entwined is a visually beautiful action game with simplistic yet highly engaging gameplay accompanied by gorgeous art design and a wonderful soundtrack.
+ Beautiful art design
+ Excellent soundtrack
+ Simplistic yet highly rewarding gameplay that is highly accessible
+ Flexible and creative story telling
+ Good campaign and addictive challenge mode
VERDICT SCORE: 9.5/10
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